How Your Architect Designs Your House

In collaboration with you and your family an Architect is trained to think about your house in an integrated and systematic way. An Architect also brings a sixth sense for light, space, your land, and your family’s needs. Architects are trained to think deeply about “home”. They seek to reach you to unlock and learn ways you will use space, to synthesize many design influences including land, topography, environment, the neighborhood and the context that will support your house; the seasons, sunlight, wind and weather, the climate, a local design aesthetic, appropriate and contextual materials and finishes, your needs and your budget. Your search for the right Architect has led you to a person you feel you can trust [...]

What You Should Ask When Interviewing a Builder

Fourteen Recommended Questions for Initial General Contractor Interviews Rhodes Architecture + Light When initially interviewing a general contractor, you will want to gather as much information as you can before making your decision about who to work with. Eventually, the potential contractor should walk through the design and plans with you. In the initial interview, you have an opportunity to assess the contractor’s experience, work ethic and personal demeanor. We are sensitive to builders who try, in the early meetings, to re-design or who quickly suggest changes in materials and construction. Let the General Contractor know that you have hired an Architect, will have professional engineering and construction documents (plans) and will use the Architect’s services to manage the [...]

Questions You Should Answer Before Designing Your House

When my firm begins a new house with a client, and after an initial meeting, we create a customized “design questionnaire” that we think will be useful in asking and soliciting answers to a number of important questions. These questions form a framework for uncovering your needs and desires for your house, what you expect in a home (including expectations that you may not have consciously examined) and how you may plan on using your home. We ask couples and family members to answer these questionnaires separately since many of our clients will need time alone to think deeply about their expectations in a house. They may also often be influenced by others, sometimes distracted, and even dissuaded from their [...]

The Smaller House

How You Can Have More in Less Part I “Sustainable” is Nonsense and Smaller is “Green” Your grandparents grew up and raised your parents in a house about a third of the size of yours. They raised a family of four in it. According to the National Association of Homebuilders the average American family of 2.6 persons today lives in at least 2,687 square feet or 1,033 square feet per person. Our grandparents raised larger families in just 983 square feet (245 square feet per family member) and I grew up in an average house of 1,500 square feet in the 1970s. The most easily quantifiable reason to live in a smaller home is its inherent efficiency. Small [...]

The Smaller House, Part II

Small Houses Big Spaces Part II Tiny houses are not small and small houses are not tiny. The tiny house movement, while illustrating a sought-after trend toward living with less encompasses single spaces in which all functions are combined. Living, dining, cooking, working at home happen together, usually in one largely undifferentiated room. All or most of the tiny house shares the same space and the same scale. Smaller houses do not mean the creation of one room in which different functions are combined, sharing the same room dimensions, ceiling heights, views or relationship between the interior and outdoor environment. Creating good small homes means carefully separating the important activities of a residence into mutually supporting spaces differentiated in [...]

The Smaller House, Part III

How You Can Have More in Less Part III Creating thoughtful, efficient, comfortable smaller space is a process. An example from our practice is the best way to illustrate the ideas and thought that can go into creating smaller homes. We were approached by a discerning builder and his family to design a river-front cabin for four families in limited space. The building we designed has common living areas, bathrooms (some compartmentalized with separate shower/toilet rooms and common vanities with multiple sinks) a shared kitchen with multiple preparation areas and work areas, a central entry that doubles as a hall for storing coats, shoes, and gear, and four bedrooms sleeping up to twelve. The bedrooms feature private spaces for [...]

The Sustainable House

Sustainability Begins With Design Part I "Building Green” is often touted in architectural magazines and online articles as an important consideration for the eco-conscious consumer when planning a new house. Once you get beyond the glossy imagery showing beautiful houses with locally sourced materials and green roofs, you may be left asking yourself “what makes a house design truly sustainable and  what are the benefits of designing and building in this manner for the environment, my family and my pocketbook”? When executed successfully, a sustainable house will result in overall energy savings, improved occupant comfort and health, and a preservation of natural resources. By integrating proper strategies for daylighting and natural ventilation, and harnessing natural sources for heating and [...]

4 Reasons You Should Value The Relationship With Your Architect

Building something from the ground up can be a time-consuming and at times, overwhelming process. But it doesn’t have to be. Working with the best architects can make the building experience a rewarding and meaningful one. Rhodes Architecture + Light has more than two decades of experience building in the Pacific Northwest. We can make your vision a reality. There are many reasons you should value the relationship with your Architect. But here are just a few of the reasons partnering with Rhodes for your design project can be a truly invaluable experience. 1. Improved Well-Being Did you know that the way your home is designed could increase your comfort, health, and peace of [...]

Is a Major Renovation Worth the Time or Should I Just Move?

When people decide it’s time to renovate their homes, they usually come to us for one of two reasons: ● They’ve just purchased a lot or an existing home and want to design and build a new house. ● They’ve lived in their home for years, love where they are, and want to make substantial changes to make their space even better. The first is the easiest. Your design ideas are more open and able to be applied to a new design or may be solidly in place. You might have drawings to paper long before you find the perfect space. But the second, that’s more of a challenge. You love your neighborhood. You love your community. You [...]

How Natural Light in Your Home Can Transform Your Space

There are many different definitions of the word light. As a noun, it’s the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. As a verb, it provides light or lighting; it illuminates. As an adjective, it’s defined as having a considerable or sufficient amount of natural light; not dark. As Seattle residential architects, we’ve made it our mission to understand how light transforms your space. Light is essential for the obvious reasons; we need it to accomplish tasks. But if we go back to the human origin, light has another meaning. Light is central to the circadian rhythm. Think of your circadian rhythm as the 24-hour internal clock that controls your sleep and [...]

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